Question of the Week
“What is this? A new teaching with authority.”
“What can you tell others about Jesus with the most assurance?”
Question of the Week
Over the past few months, we have been including a “Question of the Week” in the bulletin (near the week’s bible readings), in the weekly Powerpoint (the last slide of Mass), and in our weekly Flocknotes. These questions relate to the weekly Gospel and are meant to help us think more deeply and personally about the Gospel. They also make great starters for faith conversations (or “faith-talks”) in the car on the way home from Mass or around the dinner table or anywhere a faith conversation could be appropriate.
This week’s question got me thinking. “What can you tell others about Jesus with the most assurance?” What am I certain of about Jesus?
Several years ago, I taught a course on the historical Jesus at the University of Wyoming. In that course, we sifted through the historical evidence and various theories about what we could know about Jesus as a historical figure. It was a controversial time in the historical study of Jesus with the “Jesus Seminar” making strange and unfounded claims about what was “historical” and what was not. But even in the midst of controversy, there are some facts most historians would agree with.
However, these historical facts are not what I am most certain of about Jesus. Reading through academic analysis and historical studies did not make me more certain (or less certain) about Jesus. It clarified some points and obscured others. It gave my faith deeper roots in history. But it did not tell me the most important thing about Jesus and the thing I am most certain of.
It did not tell me that Jesus is alive. It did not tell me that Jesus is someone I can talk with in prayer, serve in caring for others, or encounter in the sacraments. It is these things that I am most certain of about Jesus.
Pope Francis said it well in his encyclical on evangelization, “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life for you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” The fact that Jesus is alive and available today is what I am most certain of. I hope that this message is what I can tell others about Jesus with the most assurance.
How about you?
Parish Pastoral Leader